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Government will continue seeking positive legacy from Nanisivik mine closure, minister says

IQALUIT, Nunavut (October 1, 2002) - Planning and work to provide a positive legacy from Nanisivik will continue after yesterday's closure of the mine, says Sustainable Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk.

"The government wants to ensure that Canada's first Arctic mine leaves a positive legacy for Nunavut. Closure of the mine does not mean that the work that started late last year when the closure of the mine was announced will now suddenly end," the minister said.

"The work that has been done so far has already produced results - the transportation infrastructure at Nanisivik, including the airport, road and dock, will remain secure after today's closure."

The Government of Nunavut will continue to work closely with the nearby community of Arctic Bay; the mining company, the federal government and regulatory bodies such as the Nunavut Water Board and the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Current work underway at several government departments includes:

  • Assessing the cost of transferring housing from Nanisivik to Arctic Bay
  • Developing socioeconomic strategies to deal with the impact on Arctic Bay
  • Finding a way to move surplus government assets from Nanisivik to Arctic Bay so that the assets can be used by the community's residents.
  • Participation in the Nunavut Water Board Regulatory process and the Nunavut Impact Review Board process
  • Working closely with the community of Arctic Bay to provide assistance in understanding regulatory and technical issues
  • Store government structures in the Nanisivik town site to protect them during winter
  • Looking at alternative uses for the town site provided that town site soil contamination can be cleaned up according to established environmental and health standards
It is expected that the Nunavut Water Board will soon release an interim licence to enable the mine to start reclamation work. Several more steps will be needed after this decision is delivered before the mine receives a final licence.

"The Government of Nunavut is committed to ensuring that the mine closure occurs in an environmentally responsible manner and the people of Arctic Bay and Nunavut have an opportunity to get much needed jobs in the reclamation process," Minister Akesuk said.


Media Contact:
Nino Wischnewski
Government of Nunavut Communications
Tel 867) 975-6001


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